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'Kelly O'Reilly' adds some Black Type for the Pikes

Kelly O’Reilly (inner) beats Moochi Me. - Picture courtesy of Trish Dunell
Kelly O’Reilly (inner) beats Moochi Me.

Picture courtesy of Trish Dunell

Waikato Branch members Vicki and Wayne Pike had plenty of cause for celebration when Kelly O'Reilly (O'Reilly – Grace) won the Group Two NRM/Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes over 1400 metres recently giving her some well-deserved black type.

Despite the fact that the five-year-old mare has won seven races, this was only her fourth attempt at black type and her win was quite emphatic. Though the margin was only a head, with three-quarters of a length back to the third horse, she showed great determination and recorded the second fastest time in the race's history. Sunline holds the record at 1.21.42, and Kelly O'Reilly ran 1.21.55, beating Moochi Me and Kisses.

Kelly O'Reilly is raced by the Pikes and trained by their son Tony. She is the first foal from their underrated Pins race mare Grace, and the only filly she produced in a short stud career.

Grace won four races, and ran 23 placings in a race career cut short by her bad feet. It was those feet that caused her demise in 2012 but not before she had produced three strong foals for the Pikes.

As well as Kelly O'Reilly she has left Phoenix Eagle (High Chaparral [IRE]) who has been placed in Victoria, and a Keeper (AUS) colt who is as yet unnamed.

"We are very happy with the win, it was very nice, we seem to do very well with the left-overs," stated Vicki referring to the fact that Kelly O'Reilly didn't get sold as a yearling like most of the Pike's progeny.

"She didn't make the Premier Sale so we decided to keep her and now I am so glad we did. Not only was she the only filly we got out of Grace, but she will be a valuable broodmare now, being a Group Two winner and by O'Reilly."

It's a bit of a familiar pattern for the Pikes, at last year's Counties meeting Waterford (Darci Brahma-Crystal Hailey [USA]) won the listed Counties Bowl and she too was a 'left-over'! A half-sister to Veronica Franco (Johar [USA]) a winner of five races including the Group Three Eulogy Stakes, she failed to reach her reserve at the Premier Sale in 2011 and was also raced by the Pikes.

Waterford was also Group One placed twice running second in the Railway Handicap and the 1000 Guineas. She went to stud this season and is in foal to O'Reilly. Like Kelly O'Reilly she was trained by the Pike's son Tony.

"We are in a unique situation, with Tony having the training stables, we are able to take the horses we don't or can't sell as yearlings through to racing stage and sell them off the track. We wouldn't be able to stay in the business if we didn't have that option.

"It certainly works well, and if we don't sell we end up with some well-bred and well-performed black type fillies to replace the older mares."

One mare that they did on sell from the racing stables earlier this year was Chintz (Savabeel[AUS]- Charmed), she won six races including the Group Two Rich Hill Mile and the Group Three Westbury Classic. She is out of an unraced O'Reilly mare that the Pikes are still breeding from, and is a three-quarter sister to the former NRM/Auckland Thoroughbred Stakes winner Irlanda. Chintz was sold to Newhaven Stud in New South Wales.

Her half-sister by Redwood(GB) is in the Premier Sale this year, and is one of four yearlings that the Pikes will market under their Longlands Stud banner. They will also present two colts, both out of Elusive Quality (USA) mares; lot 60 by Darci Brahma out of Miss Elusive(AUS) and lot 369 out of Elusive Elle(AUS). The fourth premier yearling (lot 122) is a filly by Savabeel out of Poppies Last, a half-sister to the grand racehorse Rangirangdoo.

They are also taking four colts to the Select sale; a Rip Van Winkle(IRE) out of Bittersweet, and an O'Reilly out of her daughter Lemonade. A Darci Brahma out of Screen Saver and a Showcasing out of Molly's Dolly.

Currently the Pikes have 11 mares, and at this stage 10 of them are going to stud this season. The 11th is still in the foaling paddock. They are sending two mares to Savabeel(AUS), two to Rip Van Winkle (IRE), one to O'Reilly, one to Makfi(GB), and two to Showcasing(GB), Redwood(GB) and Reliable Man(GB) whom they have shares in.


- Michelle Saba